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Space Science

Russia's New Cosmodome Approved 83

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the goink-back-into-space dept.
eldavojohn writes "You may recall discussing Baikonur, the Kazakhstan city rented by Russia that has been used as a launch site for quite some time. Today, Putin has just approved construction of Vostochny between 2010 and 2018 which will be positioned in the far east of Russia to complement the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the northern part of the country. This is not bad news for Kazakhstan as the director of the Russian Federal Space Agency has announced they plan to operate this facility alongside Baikonur."
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Russia's New Cosmodome Approved

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  • by mlts (1038732) * on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:21AM (#21451353)
    Russia having two space ports (similar to how the US has the Kennedy and Johnson space centers) is going to be one of the best things they can do. The more efficient the process of launching stuff into Earth orbit, not to mention out of orbit for interplanetary missions, the closer everyone comes to space based living.

    A multinational space race (or even better, cooperative missions) benefits everyone, even if its the side effects of materials developed for aerospace programs being used for everyday life.

    This is a gamble on Putin's behalf, but it can pay off big for Russia, because people will be contracting with them for launches of private satellites (new ones, and replacements for existing satellites.)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Cosmodome: Two Astronauts enter, One Astronauts leaves.

      Post-Soviet Russia just got a lot more interesting.
    • by Tablizer (95088)
      The more efficient the process of launching stuff into Earth orbit, not to mention out of orbit for interplanetary missions, the closer everyone comes to space based living.

      Space based living will not become practical until in-orbit or lunar colonies become self-sufficient. I think it will probably require some kind of breakthrough in technology or economics, not just incremental improvements. Space mining is still too expensive.
             
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      "This is a gamble on Putin's behalf, but it can pay off big for Russia, because people will be contracting with them for launches of private satellites (new ones, and replacements for existing satellites.)"

      That's not what the Russians seem to have in mind. First deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov has stated that "urgent measures needed to be taken to develop the country as a leading space power, rather than as a provider of launch services for other countries." and "Russia should not turn into a country p
    • Why would anybody want to live in space? Just live in a small London flat instead, it'll be pretty much the same.

      You'll have no space to put anything, pizza will never get delivered and it'll cost a fortune and take ages to go out anywhere.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      JSC is not a "spaceport". There is only one launch site in the U.S. that to date has been used for manned launches, and that is KSC/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Vandenberg Air Force Base in California almost became a second U.S. manned launch site when preparations were underway to fly shuttles from SLC-6, but that venture was abandoned in the wake of the first Shuttle accident.

      Unmanned U.S. orbital launches have been conducted from KSC/CCAFS, from Wallops Island in Virginia, and from Vandenberg Air
    • Russia is building a spaceport in the far east because Kazakhstan is weary of toxic Proton launcher first stages crashing in their territory. Proton's are loaded with UDMH, a dangerous carcinogen, and Nitrogen Tetroxide, a highly concentrated acid. Central Asia is strewn with spent first stages of Protons and Soyuz. Like Baikonur the new spaceport would be located above 45 deg N, which requires increased rocket performance to launch most payloads compared to lower latitude launch sites like Cape Canaveral o

    • The Johnson Space Center in Houston is a control center rather than a launch site, so it's not directly comparable to what's being described in the article. There are US launch sites at Vandenberg AFB and Point Mugu NAS, but these are suitable only for launches to high inclination (polar) orbits. There's too much population density to lauch eastward from there, and a westward lauch incurs about 2500 km/hr velocity penalty because of the earth's rotation. I expect Russia to continue using Baikonur for heavy
    • The Russkys have cool names for everything.
  • *sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ari_j (90255) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:21AM (#21451357)
    There's a big difference between a cosmodrome and a cosmodome. I got my hopes up really high from the story title, just to have them dashed by the blurb.
    • But which is right, the title or the blurb? And what's a drome?

      My K-spellchecker thinks Cosmodome is OK, but not Cosmodrome, cosmodome or cosmodrome.
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        yes, cause I often fly my plane around in an aerodome.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          > Did I mention I got married? [youtube.com]

          Huh? Why would anyone reading Slashdot care?
      • by plover (150551) *
        Cosmodrome is correct. It's just a name given by the Russians to their launch facilities. The Baikonur Cosmodrome is their oldest and most famous, their equivalent to our Kennedy Space Center.
    • by RuBLed (995686)
      You see it is now late Friday afternoon here and I had a challenging work week, tired, etc... I read the title as Russia's New Condomdome Approved. I got excited but like you, the excitement had been dashed by the blurb...
  • the style-sheet or whatever for /. summaries should contain a mandatory "[sic]" at the end of the body.
    which this one in particular needs like seven of.
    • Oh, that's wonderful. At first glance, this appears to be another post from the illiterati, but the lack of speling erorrs indicates otherwise. Well done.
  • ISR (Score:3, Funny)

    by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:44AM (#21451451) Journal
    In Soviet Russia, the Ritz is Putin on YOU.
  • Good news (Score:3, Funny)

    by icepick72 (834363) on Friday November 23, 2007 @01:51AM (#21451479)
    Borat was excited for his country.
  • Despite what we in the west think about the Russians, I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record.

    I also know that when they finally deliver, the whole atmosphere will be met with very little fanfare unlike in the US.

    I guess it's not in them to seek publicity unlike we in the west.

    Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity fly

    • Contrast that with the Airbus A380 that the [TV] networks appeared not to get fed up of when it made its first commercial flight
      When you're a socialist country, you don't even think of advertising. I mean, a custormer? What is this thing you call a 'customer', tovarich?
      • by arivanov (12034) on Friday November 23, 2007 @03:15AM (#21451769) Homepage
        Actualy when the Mria (An225) launched the customer was there. The Russian space program, Buran, the military complex, you name it. All of these were mothballed or frozen 15 years ago and not entirely unexpectedly so did the Mria. For the last 15 years its little brother - the An124 did the heavy hawling. Now the market for ultraheavy loads is opening again so it was once again taken to the skies: http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1296054/L/ [airliners.net]. Compared to it the A380 is a dwarf.

        IMO while awesome it is not that much of a technological achievement. It may be big, but it ain't revolutionary in any sense.

        Now this http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1295104/M/ [airliners.net] is something out of a different league. It may not take a large load, but its take-off and landing requirements (a field only slightly bigger than a football pitch) are in the realm of the insane.

        Same for some of the specs for this one: http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1262070/M/ [airliners.net].

        Both of these are so far ahead of anything in their class it is not even funny.
      • by Jugalator (259273)

        When you're a socialist country, you don't even think of advertising.
        Argh! The US usage of "socialism" in derogatory form vs the more European term... My country (Sweden) has a long tradition of "socialist" governments and I'm happy for it. Not that I saw an effect on advertisement though. :-p You could gladly have some of ours. ;-) Where I wouldn't like to go is to communism.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quanticle (843097)

      Despite what we in the west think about the Russians, I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record. I also know that when they finally deliver, the whole atmosphere will be met with very little fanfare unlike in the US.

      That's because of a fundamental difference between Soviet/Russian space policy and American space policy. The Soviet space mission was always viewed as a military one, while the American space agency was a civilian organization. Therefore, there was always more fanfare around American launches, simply because NASA made itself more accessible to the public than the equivalent Soviet agency.

      Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today. And this was put in service more than ten years ago...again, with little fanfare.

      Again, you're comparing apples and oranges. The AN-225 [aerospaceweb.org] was originally envisioned as a special carrier for the ca

      • by ferespo (899921)

        Therefore, there was always more fanfare around American launches, simply because NASA made itself more accessible to the public than the equivalent Soviet agency.

        Tell me then why did Americans send a man to the moon in the first place?
        • by quanticle (843097)

          We sent a man to the moon to demonstrate out superiority over the Soviets. However, that does not diminish the fact that our space program was conducted in far less secrecy than the Soviet space program. Thus, the current lack of fanfare around the Russian space program is due to the historic secrecy of the program, and not due to some kind of imagined modesty possessed by the Russian government.

    • flamebait, nah.

      Now if I could mod a post "strawman"...
    • Where have you been, you only get Flamebaited on Slashdot when you defend the US. I often boast of Russias accomplishments because the US is buried in beaurocracy. The US could have beaten the Soviet Union with a satellite, it was ready a year ahead of the Soviet Union but government wouldn't let them launch. They also were prepared to launcha a man into orbit before the Russsians but instead launched a Chimp. The US is still the only one to land a man on the Moon let alone do it repeatedly and that was wit
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmai l . c om> on Friday November 23, 2007 @02:54AM (#21451707) Homepage

      Despite what we in the west think about the Russians, I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record.

      Huh? Their track record over the last fifteen odd years is of one project after another that fails to materialize - or is delivered years late.
       
       

      I guess it's not in them to seek publicity unlike we in the west.

      That would explain the endless stream of glossy presentations, especially from their space industry, promising ever more wonderful accomplishments. (None of which, as noted above, have ever amounted to anything.)
       
       

      Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today. And this was put in service more than ten years ago...again, with little fanfare.

      It's not that your post is flamebait, it's just disconnected from the facts. The AN-225 was put into service nearly twenty years ago in the Soviet Union - with a great deal of fanfare. It was then mothballed with the fall of the Soviet Union. When it was placed back into service, it wasn't Russia that placed it in service - but a private company. While it did recieve a great deal of fanfare in the appropriate circles, like all cargo aircraft it was soundly ignored by the media. Comparing it with the A-380 is comparing apples and oranges.
       
       

      Ohh, what about the Space Shuttle which continues to make news whenever it's to lift off or land. On this front, the Russians just fire their Soyuz craft as if it's just another chore!

      Again the disconnection with facts... It may not make the Western media, but it does the Russian each time it launches or lands.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrKaos (858439)
        Both space programs had some fantastic accomplishments (Russian space endurance and American science and moon landings), and any criticism you can level at one you can level at the other. The reality is that America's space program was born of Industrial might and the Russiam program was born from political might. Where the Russian program was pragmatic the American program was ambitious, I admire both.

        Both programs were driven from the passion of just two men - Korolov and Von Braun - championing similar

    • Over the past 15 years, Russia has achieved a great transformation. It has become a modern capitalist society with a Western-style consumerist culture, a rapidly growing economy, and a stable political system. But at the same time it has lost much; among other things, it no longer has the capacity to do any serious space exploration.

      Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's industrial and scientific capacity has been decimated. The criminal oligarchs who took over Russian industries invested in ya
      • by tftp (111690)
        This is precisely the quality of Russian cars fell after the collapse of the USSR

        I take it you never drove the original Zhiguli [wikipedia.org] then, or Moskvitch [wikipedia.org], or heavens forbid a Zaporozhets [wikipedia.org]?

        To get a driver's license you had to study the workings of the car, and for a good reason - more than likely on a dark road, under rain, you'd have to open the hood and clean the contacts of the ignition (on Moskvitch) or to rearrange the wet rag on the fuel pump (Zhiguli) or just curse impotently (any ZAZ.) Very few Soviet ca

    • by mev (36558) on Friday November 23, 2007 @05:12AM (#21452237) Homepage
      I strongly believe they will deliver on this given their track record.

      Note that the announcement comes one week before the Russian Parliamentary elections set for December 2nd. Putin is term limited as President but has vowed to run for Parliament and speculated that he could continue to rule as a strong prime minister.

      What has actually been announced is a feasibility study to decide a location by 2010, and intentions to build start in 2018. The Amur Region that is named is the same one where Putin announced on February 26th, 2003 that he was opening a new road across Siberia and that 2008 it would be paved. That was coincidentally three weeks before the last Russian Presidential election. I have been across the Amur Highway this year (2007) and while a lot of good work has been done, there is no way the Amur Highway will be entirely paved in 2008, nor for that matter by 2010 (Putin's last announcement on the topic in 2006) or in my opinion by 2018.

      So when I think of "track record" and I think of some of the engineering difficulties of the Amur Region (think permafrost, little infrastructure,...) and I put it in the context of Russian politics, then while this may eventually be built, I doubt it will be done by 2018 mentioned in the article. All that is promised so far is a study in 2010.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mev (36558)
        Here is a link to PDF document [larouchepub.com] describing some of the motivations including:
        • Avoid depopulation. 16 million people in Russian Far East and decreasing. 2.4 people per km2 vs 80 people per km2 across the Amur River in China. The idea is to get skilled manufacturing jobs.
        • Use existing base of Uglegorsk. Keeps it from being shut down and has past experience with launching satellites.
        • Leverage other infrastructure such as roads and railroads.

        As I stated in the parent posting, Putin's motivations for annou

    • by vityok (1040682)
      The biggest flying aircraft was developed, tested, and manufactured in Soviet Ukraine, which became an independent state after the union went kaput. And, you should know that Ukraine is not Russia at all. Moreover I would not dare to draw conclusions similar to that you have made taking into account surface area only. First computers were developed in Ukraine, rockets (carriers) were developed in Ukraine and so on. Then, It should be also taken into account that in the nearest future there will be parli
      • The biggest flying aircraft was developed, tested, and manufactured in Soviet Ukraine, which became an independent state after the union went kaput.

        No! Not entirely. The design was both Russian/Ukranian, engines were Ukranian, avionics are Russian and the landing gear, just like those of the Il-76 was from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. Wikipedia has an entry on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonov [wikipedia.org].

        As it is now, none of these independent countries can manufacture the Antonov independently, but Russia is taking a leading role in its manufacture, though Ukraine still has a pretty important role to play.

    • by hxnwix (652290)

      Now for those who might think this post is "flamebait", I'd like to remind them that the Soviet Union, much of which became today's Russia had and still has the biggest, heaviest and highest-capacity flying aircraft in service today

      Indeed; and the craft it was purpose designed and built to lift was destroyed due to underfunding, poor maintenance and overall negligence. Eight people perished in this particular Russian space program disaster. [wikipedia.org]

      Contrast that with the Airbus A380 that the [TV] networks appeared not to get fed up of when it made its first commercial flight.

      Ok, but only because you insist: there was more than one A380 built and none of them have been destroyed in hanger collapses.

      • by tftp (111690)
        there was more than one A380 built and none of them have been destroyed in hanger collapses.

        It is important to understand the life cycle of prototypes: they are made to perform usually one function, in a very specific time frame. After that is done they are useless. I am sure nobody shed a tear over the damage to the prototype Buran because it should have been cut into pieces and recycled long ago (but probably not a single bureaucrat had enough bravery to order it done.)

        Think of it this way: you have a

  • But does will it run Linux?
  • Of Course (Score:1, Funny)

    by MightyMartian (840721)
    Is for the greater glory of Kazakhstan. The village rapist enjoy new Cosmodome greatly, and much bigger place for Running of the Jews.
  • The general idea (though it is not said officially) as I understand it is to get us our own cosmodrome which

    1. comes cheaper with no rent to pay and
    2. can never be denied us whatever the political situation in the world is

    while being as close to the equator as we can manage it - Plesetsk is too far to the north.

    I think once it's built and fully operational (that is manned flights begin to launch from there) we might drop Baikonur option - or perhaps turn it into museum.
  • Hmm... that doesn't really work, does it? Oh well.
  • Location? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Alkonaut (604183) on Friday November 23, 2007 @04:39AM (#21452111)
    Why northern russia? What about being close to the equator? That is the reason the US have their sites in California and Florida, and the reason that the European agency cannot even have its launch site in Europe!

    Is this site not intended for launching stuff into orbit, but merely intended as a landing site, or a sub-orbit launch site?

    • Re:Location? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tom Womack (8005) <tom@womack.net> on Friday November 23, 2007 @09:45AM (#21453323) Homepage
      In case you haven't noticed, Russia doesn't get very near the equator; they built the original facility in Baikonur because that was as far south as you could get in the Soviet Union and have a reasonable region of Soviet Union over which to drop discarded rocket stages.

      The southernmost points of Russia are in the Caucasus, but that's a decidedly unstable area of the world, and rocket stages dropped off by things heading east would drop on Kazakhstan, which the Kazakhs obviously don't want. If you rule out the Caucasus, the next-southernmost points are at the North Korean border in the far east; there is a constant Russian worry that the Chinese might want to expand into Siberia if it's left empty, and so they'd like to build facilities there, especially the sort of facilities which set up clusters of skilled people who'd bring non-resource-dependent income to Amur.

      The proposed site is Svobodny, which is just over the Amur from China, and not too far from the Komsomolsk-na-Amur rocket factory.

      http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&sll=54.162434,-3.647461&sspn=8.188315,20.566406&ie=UTF8&ll=51.410771,128.19191&spn=0.272388,0.6427&t=k&z=11&iwloc=addr&om=1 [google.co.uk]

      Obviously, an equatorial site would be better, and indeed there's a Soyuz pad being built at Sinnamary, in French Guyana, five degrees from the equator and about twenty miles from the Arianespace facility at Kourou. First launch from there will be late 2008, but it's only Soyuz so not particularly heavy lift, and I suspect the Russians might be less keen than EU nations at having their military satellites launched from French soil.
      • I'll further reinforce your point with another Google Maps reference [google.co.uk] - draw a horizontal line from the green arrow indicating the Baikonur Cosmodrome toward the east. See that chunk of southern Russia over near Japan? That's (generally) where they're planning to put the new cosmodrome. It's about as far south as they can go in Russia without displacing the North Koreans. Unfortunately, they're not getting any better location than Baikonur. The Russians really need some territory further south ... like
    • by sconeu (64226)
      The CA launch site gets no launch boost from being "close" to the equator. It's the prime site for polar orbit launches (you launch south over the ocean).

      Also, you you consider 36N to be close to the equator?
    • by Cantus (582758)
      Can't you read?

      Today, Putin has just approved construction of Vostochny between 2010 and 2018 which will be positioned in the far east of Russia to complement the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the northern part of the country.
      It's the Plesetsk Cosmodrome the one in northern Russia, NOT the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which is near the border with China. That means SOUTHERN Russia.
  • Slightly off topic here - but what exactly IS the deal with Baikonur?
    From what I can see on GE and googling, vast tracts off this 'city' are abandoned or destroyed sites.

    Is access possible - on the sly or otherwise? Is it open space, except for around the new / active buildings? I'm curious!
    • by jamax (228376)
      It is open space, surrounded by more open space. In the middle there used to be a very nice-looking city (with green trees and everything) with pleasant population and no crime at all.

      Which is not surprising, since it was populated by engineers of all kinds, scientists and service personnel serving under official jurisdiction of MoD and ever watchful eye of KGB.

      And of course it has been lavishly funded by the government.

      What you see now is the result of Yeltsin's era typical neglect of everything that does
      • by Archon-X (264195)
        Interesting. I'm planning a trip up to the Great North, and would love to cruise through there to oogle at abandoned launch platforms, and the huge collapsed warehouse that housed the once mighty russian shuttle [until a great wind collapsed the building and squished the shuttle :( ]
  • Let's kick shell!
  • Shouldn't that be cosmodrome ?
  • by jandersen (462034) on Saturday November 24, 2007 @02:52AM (#21460813)
    Russia's New Cosmodome

    Wow, that sounds like some huge condom. They are not lacking in self-confidence, are they?

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